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Women, Iron, and Useful Things in Republican Martial Arts Fiction
Petrus Liu, Cornell University analyzes Wang Dulu's invention of a unique prose style in such texts as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the context of the contradictions of Chinese industrialization.
April 5, 2007, 4:00 PM
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Sponsored by Center for Chinese Studies, Department of East Asian Langugaes & Cultures
This talk analyzes Wang Dulu’s invention of a unique prose style in such texts as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the context of the contradictions of Chinese industrialization. I argue that the figure of nüxia (the female knight-errant) was invented as a narrative solution to the crisis of kinship and new forms of social interdependence engendered by capitalist modernity. The text should be read as a product of a distinct brand of Republican feminism that rewrote gender as anatomically discrete bodies at the expense of more traditional understandings of affect and yin/yang cosmology. As the emancipated new woman and the scientific management of China’s natural resources came to be identified as icons of Chinese modernity in the Republican era, these tropes critically re-defined the narrative strategies and concerns of a longstanding popular genre in modern Chinese literature, martial arts fiction.